“Give her as much torture and grief as the
glory and luxury she gave herself..”
Thoughts… God’s judgments are never random and thoughtless; they are quite purposeful and specific to the wickedness and idolatry they intend to punish.
When God poured out the ten plagues on Pharaoh and his people during the time of Moses, each divine blow struck right at the heart of Egypt’s worship of their gods. We witness that throughout the Old Testament: When godless, idolatrous Israel was punished, God’s judgment was never vague as to the reason for the Divine discipline.
We saw previously in Revelation 16 that in the end times, the physical world will be catastrophically shaken as God releases his displeasure on those who have worshiped creation over the Creator. And now, once again, we see how Divine justice will fit the crime as punishment is meted out against the world’s economic system here in Revelation 18.
Perhaps the greatest sin of mankind from time immemorial has been the worship of mammon—money, and the vast and varied evils that have arisen from it. Empires, nations, systems, businesses and individuals, motivated by greed, the desire to amass wealth and the insatiable lust for more, have perpetrated indescribable wickedness through the history of humanity—slavery, exploitation, the sex trade, poverty, ecological ruin, bribery, injustice, pornography, and war.
But in his final judgment against the humanity, God will bring these economic systems low in a display of Divine shock and awe that will cause humanity to drop its collective jaw:
“When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’” (Revelation 18:18-19)
God will again strike the world where it hurts—and this time, he will go right for the jugular of human sin: man’s worship of mighty money. The punishment will fit the crime: “God has judged her for the way she treated you.” (Revelation 18:20)
Of course, this will come at the end of time, but there is a message for believers here and now. Jesus said it best:
“You cannot serve both God and money…So don’t store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also…The judgment will be upon anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.” (Luke 16:13, Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 19:21)
The 18th century Anglican clergyman and hymn-writer, Augustus Toplady, put it this way, “Since much wealth too often proves a snare and an encumbrance in the Christian’s race, let him lighten the weight by ‘dispersing abroad and giving to the poor’; whereby he will both soften the pilgrimage of his fellow travelers, and speed his own way the faster.”
Not a bad way to handle your money in light of what is coming!
Prayer… Father, help me to reject the god of this world—unrighteous money—and store up for myself treasures in heaven. Help me to be rich toward you with the use of my wealth now. No matter how much I have, may it always be used to glorify you name and advance your kingdom in this world.
One More Thing… “One verse in every six in the first three Gospels relates either directly or indirectly to money. Sixteen of our Lord’s forty-four parables deal with the use of misuse of money. A loving, joyful, liberal giving to the Lord’s work is an acid test of a spiritual heart, pleasing to God.” — William Allen